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Two Veterans Look Back On Ten Years Of TaSH

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June 18, 2024

By Tom Pedulla–

Louis D’Alessandro, owner of J.D. Farms, was immediately drawn to the Patriots Park location when the TaSH Farmer’s Market was established a decade ago. “It had a playground. It had a beautiful park that people walked around. It had a lot of eyesight traffic from Route 9,” he recalled. “If you had no idea what was going on here, you would see the tents and pull on in and say, ‘Let me see what’s going on.’”

Deb Taft, owner of Mobius Fields, was so excited by the possibilities in the beginning that she became the fourth person to join the board. “I helped get it started,” she said proudly.

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Mobius Fields

J.D. Farms and Mobius Fields joined Arlotta Food Studio, Irvington Delight, Mead Orchards, Meredith’s Bread, Picklelicious and Warwick Valley Winery as original vendors. All have stayed the course and helped TaSH grow into a market voted second best in New York State and 10th best in the northeast. “This is way beyond what I expected it to be,” Taft said.

The dedication of originals such as D’Alessandro and Taft surely contributed to the Saturday market’s expansion beyond their wildest dreams as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Because J.D. Farms is based in Pine Plains, N.Y., D’Alessandro typically loads his truck with various cuts of beef, chicken and turkey parts, and sausage (to name a few) at 4:00 a.m. so that he, his 15-year-old son John, Nick DeGrazia and Natalie Rodriguez can be ready to welcome customers from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Once they arrive, they not only unload the truck but must set up a grill for their popular meat, egg and cheese sandwiches.

JD Farms

Mobius Fields leases acreage in Bedford, Katonah, North Salem and Brewster. It offers all kinds of fruits and vegetables over the course of the spring, summer and fall as well as spectacular flowers and plants that give backyard gardeners a strong start.  “It’s a lot of schlepping,” said Taft, a Sleepy Hollow resident for almost 20 years. She receives a huge assist from her husband, Paul Williams, on weekends.

No matter the vendor, it’s a lot of schlepping and sweat. “It’s not an easy way to make money, especially as I wriggle into my 60’s,” Taft said. “I want to feed my neighbors the best food I can grow and I want to help them grow the best food they can grow.”

D’Alessandro leases more than 50 acres. Over time, he moved in the direction of eggs and meat and away from produce because he could not find enough workers to assist with the harvest. “It’s quite hard,” he said. “Each year it seems to get harder with the fuel prices, inflation and government regulations.”

 D’Alessandro began working at a farm when he was in the sixth grade. He will soon begin to raise turkeys to make sure he can satisfy the many Thanksgiving orders he receives. As hard as it is, he cannot think of doing anything else. “It’s a rewarding life. People don’t go into it for the money,” he said. “It’s an enjoyment to see my customers here who like what we do.”

 D’Alessandro searched for the right words to describe why he and other TaSH vendors devote so many hours while attending to so many details. His typical Saturday turns into a 14-hour day.  “It’s deeper than a passion. It’s in the bones,” he said. “If you don’t have a love for it, you’re not going to want to do it. It’s a way of life. It’s not easy. Rainy days, cold days. You’ve got to love it all.”

Then D’Alessandro was interrupted. A customer wanted cheese as part of his egg sandwich. Where was the cheese?

 The owner of J.D. Farms held his head in his hands. He had forgotten something.

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